The Internet of Things

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County announces the establishment of a free, open source Internet of Things for Tompkins County.

(Ithaca NY) Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County is partnering with the Tompkins County government in the formation of a free, open source Internet of Things that will provide 100% coverage throughout the county. The network will be developed using The Things Network infrastructure using LoRaWAN technology.

Construction of the network will begin in late November 2017, with full (100%) coverage across the county expected to be achieved by midyear 2018. The network’s first use will be to establish a network of sensors and monitors that will enable low-cost yet highly precise monitoring of real-time electricity, natural gas, and water usage in county buildings and other municipal and commercial buildings throughout the county. This network represents an expansion of a pilot effort involving 5 local buildings that has shown savings of more than 15% on electricity costs and identified numerous ways for building occupants to reduce energy usage, help save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Specific benefits for Tompkins County government will be better facility operations, reduced energy costs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, easily collected energy data and facilitated bench marking of government buildings.

The measuring technology and methodology is based on MCCI’s open-source [NerveCircuit] technology for low-cost building power management using LoRaWAN. “Cornell Cooperative Extension was instrumental in finding building owners and facilitating the proof of concept,” said Terry Moore, initiator of The Things Network Ithaca and founder of MCCI. “We are excited to be contributing this technology to the County project, and very glad for the chance to prove it at a larger scale.”

Beyond improvements to county government facilities and commercial buildings throughout the county, the network will also enable real-time data collection for many other applications that have been implemented elsewhere using the same technology, including among them

  • agriculture and greenhouse operations to increase production and reduce costs
  • surface water movement for improved drainage on roadways
  • air quality monitoring in homes, commercial buildings and public spaces
  • opportunities to provide children of all ages hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related problem solving

“The results achieved to date with this pilot project support the promise of implementing the LoRaWAN™ standard for IoT communications,” said Geoff Mulligan, Chairman of the LoRa Alliance. “It is exciting to see Tompkins County embracing the LoRaWAN protocol and realizing the Alliance’s vision for a smarter IoT that can enable greater sustainability and improved quality of life. We look forward to seeing the other ways that a broader implementation will benefit this community.”

Wienke Giezeman, Initiator of The Things Network, also was enthusiastic: "We cannot imagine a better showcase of The Things Network's vision than this project. The open Internet of Things infrastructure allows the county to create meaningful sensor applications. And at the same time it is providing a platform for any business or starting entrepreneur to create new use cases on top of the network. Making this government investment a double edged sword."

Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and The Things Network Ithaca, a local group dedicated to promoting widespread use of this open-source network, encourage questions and expressions of interest in using this network. Interested individuals and organizations can contact Ken Schlather ( or Terry Moore ( for more information.

Last updated July 26, 2019